Benjamin Cass

Wednesday 14, August 2013

Before leaving home to embark on this 6 week adventure I honestly did not know what to expect. I was very excited but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t really nervous too, I had heard about Volunteer Maldives through a friend who did a teaching assistant program two years ago and I loved the sound of it and decided to go for it. I am so glad I did!

All the time raising funds for it and preparing for the trip really was all worth it. It’s almost impossible for my experience to be the same as yours or anybodyelse’s. Everyone will have a unique and personal experience because it not only depends on the program you sign up for but also there are over 1200 islands, and so it all depends on where you are. But you’re guaranteed that whichever island you are placed on the people will be very friendly. I’ve made so many friends in the Maldives, young and old, who I am keeping in contact with. The friends I have made do not just include the people in the school I worked in or the people I lived with, but also people from the wider community. My island was very small and I was the only outsider in a very small community which meant there was always people who would come and talk me whenever I would go for a walk. I was made to feel extremely welcome and by the end of the 6 weeks I felt truly at home in Kamadhoo. I was nervous about staying with a host family and before embarking I wanted to stay somewhere either by myself of with other volunteers. I am so very glad that I didn’t, because the married couple I stayed with were some of the most friendly and good people I have ever met. I refer to them now as my little Maldivian family.

Another thing special about the Maldives is the food, it is truly beautiful, very different to the food at home. I felt so healthy from the fresh ingredients. My favorite was when a bunch of coconuts would be cut from a tree and we’d sit on the beach sipping coconut milk. In my free time I would sometimes take my ipod or a book and sit by the trees in the shade on the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. My family and friends at home were very jealous when I sent them a picture of it at sunset!

I loved my time in the school. Although I was a teaching assistant there I usually would teach some relief lessons each day to cover absent staff. I loved getting to know the children and teachers and I miss them already even after only being home a week. I have learnt so many stories about people and things that have happened. I’ve learnt so much about the Islamic faith too and the history of the Maldives, something you can only get by spending time on a local island with real Maldivians opposed to a resort. Kamadhoo truly was a place where I felt like a different person, it was fantastic to take myself out of life in the UK and be part of a different way of life for 6 weeks.

Name: Benjamin Cass
Island(s): Kamadhoo
Duration: 6 weeks